The Evolution of NFTs (2015-2020) : Ethereum, Solana and Polka Dot

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  1. The Meaning of NFTs

  2. Evolution of NFTs Across Blockchain Ecosystems

  3. Ethereum (2015-Present)

    1. Coloured Coins

    2. Etheria

    3. CryptoKitties

    4. Cryptopunks (2017)

    5. Decentraland (2017)

    6. Rare Pepes (2016-2017)

    7. Curio Cards (2017)

    8. Axie Infinity (2018)

    9. CryptoVoxels (2018)

    10. NBA Top Shot (2020)

    11. Beeple’s Everydays:  the First 5000 Days (2021)

    12. Solana (2020-Present)

  4. What are some notable projects on Solana?

    1. Solanart

    2. Magic Eden

    3. DigitalEyes

    4. Auctionity

    5. Mango Markets

    6. SailorMoon NFT Collection

    7. Star Atlas (Ongoing Development)

  5. Polkadot (2020-Present)

    1. What are some notable projects on Polkadot?

    2. Kusama NFTs

    3. RMRK

    4. Unique Network

    5. Red Kite

  6. NFT Standards on Ethereum

    1. Exploring Popular NFT Standards Across Blockchain Networks

    2. Ethereum's ERC721 Standard

    3. Ethereum's ERC1155 Standard:  A Versatile Evolution

    4. Implementing ERC1155 in a Smart Contract

  7. Polkadot's PSP-34 and PSP-37 Standards

  8. Solana's SPL Token Standard

  9. The Need for Cross-Chain NFT Standards

  10. Ethereum

    1. ERC721

    2. ERC1155: A Collaborative Standard for NFT and Fungible Tokens

    3. My MultiToken Contract

  11. Polkadot

    1. PSP-34 and PSP-37

    2. How SPL Token Standards Work on Solana

  12. Cross-chain NFT Standards

Title: The Evolution of NFTs (2017 to 2020): Ethereum, Solana and Polkadot

In the ever-evolving landscape of blockchain technology, Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) have emerged as a revolutionary concept, reshaping how we perceive ownership and digital assets. 

In this article, we will explore the meaning of NFTs, their evolution across major blockchain ecosystems, and the significance of understanding NFT standards, all while shedding light on the importance of safeguarding your NFT intellectual property (IP).

NFTs, digital assets that represent ownership or proof of authenticity of unique items, have captured the imagination of creators, collectors, and investors alike. What started as a niche concept has become a global cultural and economic force, reshaping how we perceive, own, and trade digital and physical assets.

Here, we’ll delve into the journey of NFTs across three prominent blockchain ecosystems: Ethereum, Solana, and Polkadot. Each ecosystem has contributed uniquely to the NFT space, playing vital roles in NFT adoption, scalability, and interoperability. 

We will also explore the key milestones in the evolution of NFTs on these platforms and examine how they have been implemented. Eventually, you'll have a comprehensive understanding of how NFTs have progressed in these three blockchain ecosystems and how they are shaping the future of digital ownership.

The emergence and rapid evolution of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) have undeniably been one of the most transformative phenomena in the world of blockchain technology and understanding the evolution and history will allow us to appreciate the significance of the technology. 

The Meaning of NFTs

Non-Fungible Tokens, or NFTs, are unique digital assets that represent ownership or proof of authenticity of a particular item, piece of art, collectible, or any other tangible or intangible asset. Unlike cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Ethereum, NFTs are indivisible and cannot be exchanged on a one-to-one basis. Each NFT has a distinct value and cannot be replicated, making it ideal for digital collectibles and unique creations

Tokens,  signifies an ownership stake. Tokens are divided into fungible tokens, characterized mostly by their exchangeability feature, and Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs).

NFTs, or Non-Fungible Tokens, symbolize ownership of unique digital assets, and what sets them apart is their non-interchangeable nature. In other words, when you trade NFTs, you don't simply swap one for an identical counterpart; instead, you receive an entirely distinct digital asset in return.

NFTs have significantly shaped the blockchain landscape, gaining immense traction in the realms of digital art and blockchain gaming. Artists have embraced this technology to broaden their audience, showcasing and selling their digital creations to online enthusiasts. Additionally, various crypto companies have integrated NFTs into their games, redefining the concept of ownership for in-game items.

Evolution of NFTs Across Blockchain Ecosystems

Ethereum (2015-Present)

Ethereum was the pioneer in introducing NFTs to the world of blockchain. The journey began in 2015 when Ethereum's blockchain developer, William Entriken, proposed the ERC-721 standard.

This groundbreaking development allowed developers to create and trade unique tokens on the Ethereum blockchain, giving rise to the NFT art boom, particularly with projects like CryptoKitties in 2017.

Over time, Ethereum also introduced the ERC-1155 standard in 2018, which allowed for more flexibility in creating both fungible and non-fungible tokens within a single smart contract.

ERC-721, on the other hand, is a standard for non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on the Ethereum blockchain, and it defines a set of rules and functions that make it possible to create and manage unique, indivisible assets on the blockchain. The ERC721 standard was created to enable the representation of ownership and provenance for unique digital or physical assets on the Ethereum blockchain.

Coloured Coins

The evolution of NFTs is rich and interesting. Although it hasn't been certainly determined, it is said that the credit for the first NFT created goes to either Coloured Coin (Bitcoin) or Quantum, a digital art created by Jennifer and Kevin McCoy.

Coloured Coin is arguably how the uniqueness of NFT was initially demonstrated.. A coloured coin is a cryptocurrency that includes a promise by an asset issuer to provide a good or service for the owner of the coin. The asset issuer creates colored coins by encoding some of their own cryptocurrency with metadata using a special crypto wallet that knows how to color coins.

The metadata specifies the obligations of the asset issuer to the coin holders. For example, a musician can issue colored coins, allowing owners to attend a concert at a specific date and location. Everyone who has one of the colored coins can then attend.

If you think Coloured Coins is such an interesting one for the first NFT, then you haven’t heard about Quantum. Quantum was a generative piece of art that was created by digital artists Jennifer and Kevin McCoy. 

In 2014, this astounding piece of art was turned into an NFT. The endeavor to tokenize Quantum had a profound impact, not only redefining the representation of digital assets on the blockchain but also playing a pivotal role in establishing the idea of digital ownership and laying a legal foundation for it. And in June of 2021, the piece of art was reported to have been sold for over a million dollars.

But then, how has the concept of NFT developed over time? How has it spread and been implemented across various blockchain networks like Ethereum, Solana, and Polkadot?

Early NFT Projects


The concept of NFTs developed on the Ethereum network with the launch of blockchain-based games, Ξtheria and CryptoKitties, and the ERC721 standard.

Ξtheria, also known as Etherea, is one of the pioneering Decentralized Virtual Worlds and crypto-real Estate games incorporating the NFT concept.

This virtual realm allows players to acquire land tiles, cultivate them for resources, and construct various creations. Its launch followed Ethereum's mainnet release by several months. While it may not have achieved the same level of fame as CryptoKitties, Ξtheria left an indelible imprint on the NFT and web3 ecosystem.


CryptoKitties was developed by a company called Axiom Zen (later rebranded as Dapper Labs). CryptoKitties is a game that allows users to collect and breed unique digital cats.

Cryptokitties is considered an early adopter of the ERC721 standard because the deployment of its digital cats in November 2017 predates the launch of the standard itself in January 2018.
The success and popularity of CryptoKitties played a significant role in driving attention to NFTs. As a result, it contributed to the development and formal standardization of ERC721 by the Ethereum community.

Cryptopunks (2017)

Along with CryptoKitties, the Cryptopunk projects was equally an early catalyst of the 2017 ERC-721 standard. John Watkinson and Matt Hall founded Larva Labs, a company behind the Cryptopunks NFT.

The project was one of the fast-risen ones in the early days of Ethereum.

Yuga Labs, the company behind BAYC, eventually aqcuired Larva Labs and consequently became the owner of Cryptopunks.

Decentraland (2017)

Decentraland is a Metaverse-based NFT fashion project. Major brands like Adidas and Samsung launched their projects on Decentraland.

The project also held a fashion week where many multinational fashion brands were present.

It was the first entropy of the mainstream fashion world into embracing the narrative and innovations of NFT.

Rare Pepes (2016-2017)

Anyone who watched the Boy's Club comics in 2005 will quickly get the idea behind Rare Pepes.

Rare Peeps is a collection of NFTs with the green frog which was popularly traded then.

The project was so established that they had their wallet.

Curio Cards (2017)

Curio Cards was instrumental to the development of both ERC-721 and ERC-1155.

It is simply a replication of traditional galleries online.

Top artists like Daniel Friedman and Mansol Vengas used the platform to display their artworks.

Axie Infinity (2018)

This was the most remarkable NFT gaming project that brought mass adoption to the NFT world.

Players can play to earn and also trade in-game assets for fiat or crypto.

Axie infinity inspired the majority of all other NFT games that exist today.

CryptoVoxels (2018)

Often called Voxels, it expands the world of metaverse beyond gaming.

It makes it possible for people to buy and build any property in the Metaverse.

This ranges from real estate to game items and so on.

NBA Top Shot (2020)

NBA Top Shot has been a great touchpoint between the NFT and basketball world.

The website has clips of ecstatic moments during NBA matches and sells as NFTs.

The marketplace has made great sales and is the go-to platform for NBA NFTs.

Beeple’s Everydays:  the First 5000 Days (2021)

Mike Winkleman, a digital artist, known as Beeple made 5000 pieces of art.

One of the artworks broke the internet and sold for over $69 million.

MetaKovan, a Singaporean crypto investor, eventually bought the entire project including its IP.

Solana (2020-Present)

Solana, a relative newcomer, quickly gained prominence in the NFT space. With its mainnet launch in 2020, Solana offered high scalability and low transaction costs, making it an attractive choice for NFT creators and collectors. 

The Solana ecosystem swiftly embraced NFTs, and notable projects like Degenerate Ape Academy and Star Atlas emerged, showcasing the platform's potential.

What sets Solana apart is its near-instant transaction confirmation, making it ideal for trading NFTs without the frustrating delays associated with other blockchains. This speed has contributed to the explosive growth of Solana's NFT marketplace ecosystem.

What are some notable projects on Solana?


Solanart is one of the best NFT trading marketplaces in the Solana ecosystem allowing easy trading of NFTs.

It is one of the foremost marketplaces with a custom fee mechanism. Such that the creators of a project may decide the fees. The fees on the platform are relatively low as well.

NFT owners and traders can also loan their NFTs on the website, so they can gain rewards rather than having their assets lie fallow in their wallets.

Magic Eden

With around $2 billion secondary trading volume and 22 million monthly visitors, Magic Eden is easily one of the top Solana NFT marketplaces.

Co-founded by Jack Lun and three other co-founders back in 2021, Magic Eden showcases the leading NFT projects on Solana.

Apart from the formidable community behind it, many creators and collectors prefer it has a wide range of NFT categories from game NFTs to art NFTs.


DigitalEyes is a creator-focused Solana NFT marketplace. It creates a smooth transition from the creators' journeys of listing to marketing and launchpad.

The marketplace also has loads of resources to guide creators on their NFT projects' success.

The platform features popular collections like Okay Bears, Mad Lads, and Degenerate Ape.


Many NFT projects often choose to auction their assets so the highest bidder can purchase it. From a business point of view, this method is more rewarding to creators.

Auctionity was a platform created for that purpose; helping creators auction faster and safer.

Note however that the platform has ceased to exist for some time now and the website has been down.

Mango Markets

Mango Markets is a platform for decentralized financial activities such as cross-collateralization and liquidity provision.

The platform launched an NFT arm called MangoNFT for trading NFTs on Solana.

The influence Mango Markets has in the ecosystem rubs off on MangoNFT.

SailorMoon NFT Collection

The backstory of this project was based on a character in the popular Sailor Moon franchise.

This collection connects faster with manga and anime fans.

Due to its licenced nature, it paved way for licensed NFT content on Solana.

Star Atlas (Ongoing Development)

Star Atlas is one of the remarkable projects on Solana, which was launched during the bull market and is still thriving in the bear market

The game utilizes NFTs in its metaverse project.

The items within the game, such as spaceship and real estate property, are in the form of NFTs.

Polkadot (2020-Present)

Polkadot, on the other hand, is known for its innovative parachain architecture, and it too joined the NFT revolution in 2020. 

Developers began building NFT standards compatible with the Polkadot ecosystem, paving the way for cross-chain NFT interoperability. 

While Polkadot's NFT journey is still evolving, its potential for creating a multi-chain NFT ecosystem is promising.

Polkadot's approach to NFTs emphasizes scalability and interoperability between different blockchains connected to its network. This could unlock new possibilities for NFTs, allowing them to seamlessly move between chains.

What are some notable projects on Polkadot?

Kusama NFTs

With its technical adoption of substrate for its development, Kusama is a similar network to Polkadot and both are even considered sister networks.

Developers and projects are building their NFT projects on Kusama to leverage its technical advantages.

There have been formidable projects like Kusama Kingdom for this purpose.


RMRK is a groundbreaking innovation to the entire NFT world. Its Canary sandbox environment helps ushers NFTs to Polkadot.

RMRK makes it possible to nest, compose, and emote NFTs.

It is also cross-chain as builders can equally deploy their NFTs on EVM chains.

Unique Network

The Unique Network NFT marketplace empowers creators to build highly complex NFTs that are most suitable for adoption.

It features the most legendary polkadot NFTs such as AngelHack, SubstraPunks, and Chelobricks.

Creators can easily create, sell, and manage their NFTs on the Unique Network.

Red Kite

Icetea Ventures, a venture capital firm, was purported to have founded Redkite.

Thus, no wonder the main purpose of the platform is to display projects for ICO investments.

It is both a platform for DeFi and NFT. They simplify the processes of building, so teams can spend less time building their NFT projects in Polkadot.

NFT Standards on Ethereum

To fully grasp the world of NFTs, one must understand the standards that govern them on Ethereum. Ethereum's ERC-721 and ERC-1155 standards serve as the foundation for NFT development. ERC-721 focuses on creating unique, indivisible tokens, while ERC-1155 allows developers to create both fungible and non-fungible tokens in a single contract. Below is a brief code snippet illustrating these standards:


// ERC-721 Token

contract ERC721 {

    // Functions and events for NFT management



// ERC-1155 Token

contract ERC1155 {

    // Functions and events for NFT management




These standards have played a crucial role in the proliferation of NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain, enabling a wide range of digital collectibles, virtual real estate, and art to be tokenized and traded.

4. NFT Standards on Polkadot & Solana

Polkadot and Solana each have their unique NFT standards and ecosystems. While Polkadot's standards are still evolving, Solana's SPL (Solana Program Library) offers a robust framework for NFT development. These standards ensure compatibility and ease of use within their respective ecosystems.

Solana's SPL-based NFTs have gained traction due to their efficiency, affordability, and ease of minting. This has attracted artists and collectors to the platform, contributing to the growing popularity of Solana's NFT scene.

The answer to the question of what the first NFT is on Solana is controversy-ridden. While some people in the Solana ecosystem believe that Kreechures was the first Solana NFT project to launch on the network, others believe that Solarians is the first true project on Solana. This seems to be the project the community values as the true trailblazers of the Solana NFT ecosystem. However, for the sake of education, both NFT projects have contributed proportionally to the development of NFT in the Solana ecosystem.

As for the Polkadot ecosystem, the credit goes to Enjin Network, which launched its flagship parachain Efinity on Polkadot on 15th March 2021. Efinity announced in a press release that one of the projects it will integrate will be CryptoBlades – a play-to-earn NFT RPG. The latter has over 1.1 million active uses, while other leading entities in the field, such as Lost Relics, SwissBorg, MyMetaverse, and Age of Rust, have also supported the endeavor.


NFTs have come a long way from their inception on Ethereum, with Solana and Polkadot emerging as prominent players in the NFT ecosystem. Understanding NFT standards and the importance of securing your NFT IP are vital aspects of navigating this exciting digital landscape. 

The advent of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) has transformed the digital ownership landscape. Platforms like Ethereum, Solana, and Polkadot have played pivotal roles in this revolution. 

Ethereum pioneered standards like ERC721 and ERC1155, while Solana's Kreechures and Polkadot's Efinity demonstrated NFTs' immense potential. Token standards such as ERC721 and Polkadot's PSPs bolster interoperability, while innovative efforts like Artcryption safeguard creators' intellectual property. NFTs are redefining digital assets, providing fresh opportunities for creators and collectors.